An earnest presentation of Sholokhov's novel in a silent film adaptation. Poor Aksinya, married to a brute of a husband, Stepan, seeks refuge in the arms of her lover, Gregory. Troubles arise when Stepan is apprised of her infidelity, but even more disconcerting is Gregory's initial unwillingness to run away with her ('What, and lose my land?') Further complications ensue when Gregory is forced to marry Natalya who loves him despite her knowledge of his love for Aksinya. World War I intervenes, and Gregory is dispatched to the front where he gets a political education in the lack of justice in which landless peasants fight and die to protect the farms of the rich landowners. Scenes depicting Cossack troops putting down the revolutionaries in the 1905 uprising are included, as is a bittersweet finale in which tables are turned on the young lovers. If you don't mind piercingly dark glares and exaggerated eyebrow motions - all part and parcel of silent film emoting - this is, all-in-all, a good film.
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